Following this morning’s Tim Cook interview with Kara Swisher that focused on privacy, Apple has reminded developers to update their apps with the new AppTrackingTransparency framework before the release of iOS 14.5. AppTrackingTransparency, or ATT, is a new tool Apple is introducing to protect users’ data and prevent unwanted apps from tracking you across other websites and apps.
During Tim Cook’s interview with Kara Swisher, he noted that ATT is “several weeks” away. In other words, developers still have a bit of time to finish up and submit new versions of their apps that incorporate ATT. Apple’s latest update on the developer website and in the developer app notes: “Unless you receive permission from the user to enable tracking, the device’s advertising identifier value will be all zeros and you may not track them.”
Apple will require developers to declare any other form of tracking that an app includes when the app is resubmitted. Other kinds of tracking also need to be linked to ATT and only be enabled when a user enables tracking for your app. Developers need to include a “purpose string” that will appear in the standard system prompt that explains to users why you want to track them. Apple reiterated that collecting device and usage data that creates an identity for the user is a violation of the developer program’s license agreement.
All of these things are required for all apps starting with the release of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5. It’s unclear when iOS 14.5 will actually drop for everyone. It’s been in beta for quite a long time now, and lots of folks are speculating as to when the update will be released. It’s very possible that iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are linked with new hardware that hasn’t been revealed yet.
In the meantime, developers should be working on updates to their apps to keep them compliant when iOS 14.5 is released.
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